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Not enough evidence to summon former CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, says court

Rakesh Asthana. File   | Photo Credit: V. Sudershan

A Delhi court on Saturday said there was not enough evidence to summon former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Director Rakesh Asthana in a bribery case lodged by the agency.

Special Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal made the observation while taking cognisance of a charge sheet filed by the CBI, in which Mr. Asthana’s name was mentioned in Column 12.

Column 12 means there is not enough evidence to make a person an accused.

Also read | Who is Rakesh Asthana?

The court made a similar observation about CBI Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Devender Kumar, who was arrested by the agency in 2018 and later got bail. His name was also mentioned in Column 12 of the charge sheet.

The court, however, summoned “middleman” Manoj Prasad, who was arrayed as an accused in the charge sheet.

It also summoned Mr. Prasad’s brother Someshwar Srivastava and father-in-law Sunil Mittal, saying there was sufficient material to proceed against them.

Both Mr. Srivastava’s and Mr. Mittal’s names had cropped up during the probe.

The court directed Mr. Prasad, Mr. Srivastava and Mr. Mittal to appear before the court on April 13.

“There is sufficient evidence to proceed against Manoj Prasad, Someshwar Srivastava and Sunil Mittal. I summon them for April 13. Rakesh Asthana and Devender Kumar are not being summoned since there is no sufficient evidence against them,” the judge said.

The CBI may file a charge sheet if it finds anything against Mr. Asthana in its ongoing probe, the judge said.

The judge took cognisance of the charge sheet filed under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) and 385 (extortion) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The court was earlier told by the former investigating officer of the case, A.K. Bassi, that there were “clinching evidence” against Mr. Asthana.

The charge sheet, filed on February 11, had only arrayed Mr. Prasad as an accused.

Suspended DSP Mr. Kumar was the investigating officer in a 2017 case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

Hyderabad-based businessman Satish Sana, who was arrested for alleged links to the Moin Qureshi money laundering case, had also claimed links to senior officials of the CBI and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

The current case of alleged bribery was lodged on a complaint of Mr. Sana.

The court had on February 12 expressed displeasure over the CBI’s investigation into the case and had asked why the accused with bigger roles were roaming free while the probe agency had arrested its own DSP.

The CBI had registered the case against Mr. Asthana on the basis of the complaint from Mr. Sana.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 9:12:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/not-enough-evidence-to-summon-former-cbi-special-director-rakesh-asthana-says-court/article31011325.ece

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